Last night, June 5, many of the best and brightest of the Hamptons real estate community came together at the sixth annual Privet Hedge Awards Dinner, hosted by Dan’s Hamptons Media. As always, it was a wonderful evening filled with friends old and new, laughter and applause, and a few surprises.
This year’s celebration was held at Dune Deck Beach Club in Westhampton Beach, and what a beautiful location it was. The cocktail hour was outdoors on the deck overlooking the ocean, with guests mingling amid the comfy sofas and chairs, and some even partaking of a unique tradition at the Dune Deck–taking an ice shot, then throwing the ice at a target just past the bar to ring the gong in the center. (As for us, let’s just say we’ve got to get some practice in for next year.)
Bringing the Hamptons real estate community together for an evening of revelry and camaraderie before the true summer high season begins is what the Privet Hedge Awards has always been about. Well, that and the awards, of course. Drumroll, please…
There was probably no room in the free world filled with more people who love a big deal than the one we were sitting in last night, so it only made sense that the first award handed out was the Big Deal Broker. Whether it was incredible sales volume over a number of deals, one monster deal, a sale that people said would never happen, getting an unbelievable exclusive, or a combination of the above, this award has always gone to a broker whose peers believe is the definition of what it means to be a big deal.
After a moving introduction, Nanette Hansen of Sotheby’s presented the Big Deal Broker Award to Deborah Srb. Srb told us, “What an absolute surprise! While it takes grit, determination and patience to succeed in this business, it definitely is nice to know the efforts can be rewarded and recognized by your peers. I feel it is important, though, to include all my colleagues and office staff who help make these deals happen. I could never do it all alone!”
This year’s addition to the lineup, the Hamptons Spirit award, was presented to Kathleen Zappola by her Compass colleague Joe Feur. This new award was created to honor a person who dedicates their time, energy and passion to making the Hamptons a wonderful place to live and work, giving of themselves to numerous nonprofits and organizations and, in that giving, defining the best of what the heart and spirit of the Hamptons is all about. “I am honored because the award was voted on by my peers, which means a lot to me,” Zappola says. “We work in a business that is difficult at best, and I have good relationships with the people out here. So it was really very nice to be recognized.”
With an eye toward the future of the industry, the Rookie of the Year award was presented by Douglas Elliman’s Aaron Curti to his nephew and fellow Douglas Elliman broker, Matthew Curti. “I would just like to say I feel very honored to be recognized by my peers,” says Matthew. “The last year and a half has been nothing short of a spectacular experience. I am learning so much and meeting so many hard-working, inspiring individuals. I am very proud to wake up every day and be a part of this family.
The Broker’s Broker award recognizes someone who goes above and beyond for their clients and their colleagues, who is always willing to share the wisdom of their experience to help out other brokers, who is always fine-tuning their technique, and who represents him or herself with integrity at every turn. David Rattiner of Saunders & Associates presented the 2019 Broker’s Broker award to John Brady, who recently joined Saunders himself. “It’s an honor to be recognized amongst the best brokers in the industry,” Brady says. “As we work together with mutual respect and the goal of synergy, we all get to grow together. I’ll never conduct my business in a way where if my wife and daughters were behind me watching, they wouldn’t be proud to say who I am, and that’s exactly how I like to treat my fellow real estate professionals. That’s my golden rule of real estate.”
Finally, the Hall of Fame award–given to an individual who has made a long-standing impression on the real estate landscape in the Hamptons, and whose professionalism has been consistently recognized and respected by clients as well as peers–went to Sotheby’s Ann Ciardullo, presented by Keith Green. (We’d say Keith made the most touching speech of the night, too. Awwwww.) “I was honored and overwhelmed to be recognized,” comments Ciardullo. “Real estate has been part of my life for a long time, but since moving to the Hamptons 20 years ago it has quite literally become central to my life. Many of the people that are closest to me I have met through my work with Sotheby’s. It’s really all of them that made last night possible…and such a joy.”
Congratulations to all on your well-deserved awards! Thanks to all our sponsors for making this night such a success, and here’s to a great summer!